From 1965 to 1974, the base was a front-line facility of the USAF during the Vietnam War. In June 1965, the 15th Tactical Fighter Wing deployed its 45th Tactical Fighter Squadron to UBON where they flew combat missions to North Vietnam. On 10 July 1965, pilots of the 45th Tactical Fighter Squadron, the first F-4C unit in Southeast Asia, were credited with the first air victory of the Vietnam War, downing two North Vietnamese MiG-17s. The 45th Tactical Fighter Squadron was on temporary duty overseas from its permanent home at MacDill AFB Florida. The 45th flew 1,000 hours plus with 24 aircraft over North Vietnam in August 1965. The 8th Tactical Fighter Wing arrived at UBON on 8 December 1965 as part of the US deployment of forces for Operation Rolling Thunder and became the host unit. At UBON, the 8th TFW's mission included bombardment, ground support, air defense, interdiction, and armed reconnaissance.
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